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Charlie Hatton
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I'm on a bit of a hiatus right now, but only to work on other projects -- one incredibly exciting example being the newly-released kids' science book series Things That Make You Go Yuck!
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Remind Me Never to Ask for Change in Austria

So, maybe I’m just dense.

(Yes, that’s right, peanut gallery. Let it all out now. I can wait. Bring it on, bitches.

Done yet? Let it go, now. Shake it twice and zip it up, there, bucko. We’ve got a post to get to.)

So, anyway, maybe I’m not the slipperiest stripper on the pole, metaphorically speaking. That’s fine — I can deal with that. After all, we can’t all be the fuzziest handcuffs on the headboard, right? Again, metaphorically. Keep it in your pants, Elmo.

But I can usually decipher the news items that I encounter online. I may not get all the details, or understand the fancy big words, but I manage. Usually. But there was a story yesterday that stopped me in my boxers.

(What? It’s a figure of speech — ‘stopped me in my boxers’. Plus, I read it right after I got up, so it’s even true, too.

No, no — don’t try to picture it, dammit. Nobody needs to see that. Just move on, for chrissakes. Smartass.)

At any rate, the story was about the aging of the human population. Apparently, a study was done — in New York and Austria — examining the time at which we hit middle age. Apparently, it’s taking us longer and longer all the time. I knew we were a lazy bunch of bastards, but to procrastinate on getting old? Damn, that’s just pitiful, people. Get the hell on with it already.

(Oh, and regarding the title of the post, just in case you think I’m singling the Euros out on this one… I already know I’d never want to ask for change in New York. At best, that gets you a slap, or a ‘Fuggedaboutit‘. At worst, they might find you in a dumpster in Brooklyn. The part of you they don’t find stuffed under a bush in Central Park, anyway. Ouchie.)

Anyway, there was one bit in the story that I did understand. It went like this:

In 2000, the average German was 39.9 years old and could expect to live for another 39.2 years, according to the journal Nature.

Fine. You live for thirty-nine; you’ve got thirty-nine left. That’s ‘middle age’. That’s math I can handle, right there.

So, here are the next two paragraphs — the ones that made my head wiggle and my sphincter twitch:

But by 2050 the average German would be 51.9 years old, yet could still expect to live for another 37.1 years.

That would effectively mean that middle age would not arrive in Germany until a person reached the age of 52, rather than 40 as it was in 2000.

Now… wait. Thirty-nine and thirty-nine makes sense to me. Fifty-one and thirty-seven?! So ‘middle age’ is fifty-two? Wha? Does somebody out there have the secret decoder ring that makes that math work out? Even if — for some wigged-out reason — the ‘magic number’ of years left after ‘middle age’ is thirty-nine… then in 2050, it would be at age fifty, not fifty-two. Are they smoking something in Austria — or the Upper East Side — that I’m not aware of?

I mean, I’m no Leonhard Euler over here — hell, let’s face it, people; I’m barely even Leo Fibonacci — but I just can’t make the numbers work. I’m not saying they don’t work, necessarily, with a few creative equations and some algebraic hand-waving… but it damned well doesn’t follow from the data presented. Not as obviously as they make it seem, anyway. I’m a moron, folks, but I’m not that big a moron. Some-fuckin’-body needs to show their damned work.

Maybe it wouldn’t mean so much to me… but I’m leveled out at cruising altitude, hurtling headlong toward middle age myself — whenever the hell it starts. So, I’d like to know when it’s coming. You’ve got to prepare for that kind of thing, you know. Nobody wants to hit middle age unexpectedly — or sober, for that matter. Just tell me fricking when. I’ll meet you there.

Permalink  |  4 Comments

4 Responses to “Remind Me Never to Ask for Change in Austria”

  1. Kari says:

    Are they pink fuzzy handcuffs or purple?

    Some might find it odd that out of all that post I focused on the handcuff crack…. heh.

  2. tyrone says:

    Boom! Goes the dynamite.

  3. Cassie says:

    w-ell, actually, I zoomed right in on the “slipperiest stripper on the pole” bit as well.

    gee, Charlie, maybe you should, uh, step up the articles here , huh?

    (says the girl who hasn’t written her own in a week because the last post was a top five comic book character list of all time, and has since decided that it needed to sit a week because it was glorious…)

    wow…unecessary aside…

  4. Kate says:

    Um… I just read the article… and you’re right, that’s weird and they don’t do a good job of explaining it. Unless they’re using gross averages/generalizations about age specifically in years then someone’s math is really wacky.

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